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May 10, 2016

Which One of These Leaders Are You?

Imagine you have a new Consultant who isn’t performing very well. It’s clear to you and that Unit Member that they’re seriously struggling.

Yikes—that’s a bit awkward, right? You want them to do well, but it’s hard to figure out the best way to help them.

Do you coach them, do you let them figure it out on their own, or do you demand they do things differently?

And although there are several different ways to help them, how you choose to do so says more about the kind of leader you are than anything else!

There are six basic leadership styles, and each one has a different approach to handling difficult situations. So, let’s get into them and find out once and for all—which one are you?

Leadership Style #1: Commanding


This is the kind of leader who says what they want, when they want it, and expect it to be done that way the first time. They don’t offer much freedom to their Unit and don’t welcome input from individuals.

Eek! That sounds all bad, right? Well, not necessarily.

A commanding leader may sometimes be more in charge than they need to be, but it’s because they care about their work and their product. And some situations do call for an authoritative leader—it’s about figuring out what those situations are and when to use this style.

For example, if you see a Unit member making unprofessional comments on their Mary Kay site or Facebook page, it’s okay to step in and let them know what they’re doing is inappropriate.

Mary Kay Ash’s advice for giving negative feedback? “Sandwich every bit of criticism between two layers of praise.” We think she’s got a great idea there, but what else is new?


Leadership Style #2: Visionary


A visionary leader has (you guessed it) a vision! There are goals they want to achieve, and they try to keep their whole Unit focused on achieving those goals.

This might mean keeping the Unit goals on MyUnitBuzz updated, regularly meeting with your Unit about whether or not they are meeting those goals, and making sure everyone stays on the same page.

You know where you want to go, and you’ll do what it takes to make sure you get there.

“We must have a theme, a goal, a purpose in our lives. If you don’t know where you are aiming, you don’t have a goal.” - Mary Kay Ash

Leadership Style #3: Affiliative


One of the greatest things about being part of the Mary Kay family is just that—being part of a family. You’ll find that your Unit members end up being some of the best friends you’ve ever had.

I know some of you are reading this right now and thinking “well, they aren’t all my best friends.” And hey, I get it! Sometimes personalities just clash, and it can feel like there’s nothing you can do. That’s when it helps to have an affiliative leader around.

This is the kind of leader who utilizes team building exercises and really tries to create a positive environment for their Unit.

"People are definitely a company's greatest asset. It doesn't make any difference whether the product is cars or cosmetics. A company is only as good as the people it keeps." - Mary Kay Ash

Leadership Style #4: Democratic


A democratic leader wants everyone to be able to participate, just like in a democracy.They believe everyone should have a say and that everyone’s opinion matters. There may be a lot of meetings that involve asking the group “so, what do you think?”

Open work environments like this are great for morale, because it makes people feel good to know their opinions are valued. As a leader, you’re also going to get some great ideas from your Unit that they may have never come up with otherwise.

“A mediocre idea that generates enthusiasm will go further than a great idea that inspires no one.” - Mary Kay Ash

Leadership Style #5: Pacesetting


A pacesetting leader has pretty high expectations and expects everyone to be able to direct themselves. This leader would expect each individual to motivate themselves to meet their goals.

This works best with Consultants who have been doing this for a while. They need less coaching and are more capable of handling it themselves. With this method, you’ll be able to sort out who in your Unit is truly a self-starter and who will need a more hands on approach.

"The speed of the leader is the speed of the gang." - Mary Kay Ash

Leadership Style #6: Coaching


Coaching leaders understand that they aren’t just helping someone be a great Consultant, they’re helping someone become a future Director. Their goal is to help everyone develop skills for the future so one day they become a leader as well.

This may be your style if you believe that every Director has to start somewhere, and you treat each Unit member like an NSD title is in their future.

“We need leaders who add value to the people and the organization they lead; who work for the benefit of others and not just for their own personal gain” - Mary Kay Ash


So which of these styles is best? It’s complicated. Trust me, I wish I could give you a better answer.

The best leadership style is probably a combination of all of these based on the situation you’re in or the person you’re speaking to. Sometimes you’ll have to be more demanding, and sometimes you’ll have to take more of a hands-off approach. It just depends what’s going on.

So take pieces of these styles along with some of the leadership traits we’ve shared in the past, and you’ll be well on your way to being an even more amazing leader than you already are.

We’d love to hear which style you think describes you the best! Let us know in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.

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